On March 7, 1973, when I was 9 years old, the medical future came into my living room in Brooklyn, N.Y., via a 25-inch Zenith color television. On that night, Steve Austin, a civilian astronaut, crashed in a test flight accident and lost his right arm, left eye and both legs. Luckily for Colonel Austin, a Vietnam veteran who had walked on the moon, he was able to be “rebuilt” with artificial legs that allowed him to run at 60 mph, a prosthetic arm that could lift 150 pounds (and had a Geiger counter for radiation detection) and a bionic eye, complete with a 20:1 zoom lens and infrared capabilities, thanks to the generosity of the American Broadcasting Company. Total cost? 6 million dollars.